Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Adventures of License Plates...

Part of the joys of relocating is always relabeling your car as necessary by the various states in which you live. This is particularly important in Chicago because having appropriate stickers allows me to actually park on my street.

Before I moved, on the day I signed the lease actually, I went by the alderman's office and bought some guest passes. You can get up to 30 of these per month, per household, at $8/15. This would, I believed, give me plenty of time to get moved and downtown to the DMV at the Thompson Center.

Only, to change things over, the state would like two items that prove residency (along with my passport and social security card--despite the fact I was a registered license holder here before). My lease wasn't enough and so I had to wait until a bill arrived. Comcast wins the race for first bill in Chicago. Aren't we all thrilled?

It meant that I was well into the first few days of my new job before I had all of the paperwork. This also meant that every morning I was filling out a guest pass, replacing it in the window, and heading for the train. The floor of the front seat is littered with used passes. 

Once everything was acquired, I grabbed a couple of hours from work Friday morning and got off the blue line a few stops earlier than usual. First a verification that I didn't need to pay taxes on the car (bought it enough years ago and in a different state); then a new title. After that was a wait to get a new license and finding out that I'd have to take the written exam again. (Really? I just took it three years ago!!  *sigh* I passed.) Trying to get a decent picture. Making a brisk sprint over to City Hall via the underground pedway to get the sticker for my car window and then out to work. 

Saturday was going to be the warmest day before the end of the year and one of the few days that I would be home when it was daylight. Thus it was deemed the best day. I got into the cupboards for the razor blades and GooGone that I'd purchased some time before to take off the previous city stickers. The ones they used to give you truly only come off via razor blade. Armed with new plates, small screwdrivers that I was sure I'd used last time, razor blades, napkins, goo gone, and city sticker, I charged out of doors.

Into the rain. Cold rain. Rain I had not dressed for because I had it in my head that 37 degrees was warm. I was in a wool coat but getting drizzled on meant I was getting chilled very fast.  I sat in the front seat and chiseled away at the older stickers. I'm sure it looked very strange, a young woman sitting in her car, scraping the inside of the windshield furiously.  I can't say it was a tidy process but I got sticker residue from guest passes of three years ago off, scraped away the old city sticker residue, hacked off half of the sticker from living in Lakeview, and decided I didn't care about the Cubs sticker until it was warmer. I smacked on the new sticker and headed for the plates.

The last time I had to change plates it was September. And warm. Here I was, crouched in the street, cold rain still coming down and realizing that the small screwdrivers I brought out with me weren't going to cut it. How I'd managed to screw them on that tightly I don't know but it sent me back inside in search of my bigger screwdriver and four different tips--it's an IKEA set. And it's a good thing I brought them all, I ended up using three different ones to get my Wisconsin plates off and the Illinois plates on. 

Griping all the while and continuing to get soggy.

But it is done and I was able to set about the rest of the afternoon. Within 24 hours the temperature had dropped near 40 degrees and a heavy snow storm that would cancel all the flights out of O'Hare was upon us. I was grateful that I didn't have to venture out just to put a pass in the car...

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